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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Standardized isotope diagrams of fish food webs (red dot: snapper; other dots: other fish species) in fished and unfished areas of Moreton Bay estuary, Australia. Image: B. Fry, J. Davis

Fry B, Davis J


Rescaling stable isotope data for standardized evaluations of food webs and species niches


Stable isotope analysis can be used for tracing changes in food webs that are altered by natural and anthropogenic processes. Fry & Davis provide a simple new isotope approach for comparing food webs and assessing changes in consumer feeding niches. In one case study, snapper Lutjanus russelli inside no-take marine reserves fed at a higher trophic level than those in areas open to fishing, while 4 other fish species retained their niches in the food web, regardless of reserve status. In the diagram, isotope lines between dots represent species interactions; this offers a new way to visualize food webs from a community interaction perspective.


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